Susan Regina Rat never felt completely at home in the big city sewer. Most nights, she would lie awake looking up at the moon, lamenting that she couldn’t see the stars for all the streetlamps. She’d see pictures of farms on discarded butter boxes or yogurt labels and yearn for green fields, lush orchards, and bright, endless blue skies. It didn’t matter that her family often made fun of her, she knew in her tiny little ratty heart that someday she’d find a way to a farm of her very own.
Then, one day, a lottery ticket found its way through a storm drain by accident, and suddenly the biggest winner in the multi-state PowerPool history was a very eloquent little rat from the lower east side. Even more surprising than that, people would later remark, was that Susan kept herself very clean, and was always careful to wash her paws before shaking hands. She even spoke so well, they always said, for a rat, anyway.
And so, with her winnings, Regina found a farm upstate that had belonged to a Mr. Dodd. He had had no children, and didn’t want to sell to the big farm next door, so he decided to take a chance on something new. A few weeks later, and with the removal of a “D,” Susan Regina Rat took over officially as the owner of Oddsborough Farm.
Oddsborough Farm is a children’s show aimed to use a variety of characters, episodes, and conflicts toward a simple goal: some people (or animals) are different, but that shouldn’t mean they aren’t deserving of dignity. There is no shortage of unique animals and unique lessons to learn every week, as Oddsborough Farm becomes a sort of mecca for odd animals that just don’t fit in at the other farms, including:
A sow that hates to be dirty
A sheepdog with actual OCD (as opposed to the “fun” version we often see on television)
A shy young hen
A lovesick praying mantis
A Percheron stallion who wishes to be a Lipizzaner, and
A goose that self-identifies as a duck
The show centers around Mary Mu-Kau (her mother was a Mongolian breed brought in for a state university study and her father a champion Holstein) a hyper-organized and hyper-competent young cow who gets sent to Oddsborough after she proves unprofitable at the farm she had been sold to. While the other cows were content to chew the cud and stare blissfully into the middle distance, Mary was thinking up possible new feed formulations or thinking of a new, clean energy source for the tractors. The show follows Mary as she becomes the de facto manager of the farm, solving issues and problems to make the farm run smoothly.
Oddsborough Farm will sport a simplified art style in the vein of Lauren Faust’s run on My Little Pony, with simple shapes and design for the characters and setting. The core of the show, and the farm itself, is that there is a place for animals that would elsewhere be considered useless, which will be a solace to children who might feel different or ostracized for having unique interests. There will be the conflicts not only of running the farm, but of managing many different personalities and making sure the farm can compete in its own way with the massive operation next door.
At no point will the issues be discussed be exploited for cheap jokes. The idea is to make a fun, accepting show that finds humor in classic slapstick and wacky situations rather than the lowest common denominator, all while never losing its core and ethos of a farm for the animals who would normally be cast aside. The time has come for a show for children that will explore these issues from an early age and in a simplified way, properly exposing them and communicating to them concepts that will need to be developed further as they grow up in a more accepting society than the one their parents knew.
With any luck, we might get some parents watching along and learning lessons, too.